Monday, May 9, 2011

Pet Loss, Grief & Guilt

Get a cup of coffee if you plan to read this post in one shot. It's gonna be a long one.

We had to put down our cat about 2 weeks ago. It was the single hardest decision I've made in my life. And I still wonder if it was the right decision. My brain knows it was, but my heart can't decide. It only knows he's gone and he's not coming back.

He had been acting off for a little while, but after a night of vomiting 8 times, we called his vet and they referred us to the local Vet ER. We brought him in and he had to stay over 2 nights to be hydrated and for testing to find out what was wrong. It was really hard for me because he had separation anxiety and I knew he must be wondering why I left him there. They diagnosed him with cholangiohepatits and pancreatitis. We were allowed to visit while this was going on and since he wouldn't eat, we brought his food from home as well as his treats and some tuna. He wouldn't touch any of it. They ended up syringe feeding him.

They allowed us to bring him home after the two days and he wasn't the same kitty. He would stay in bed all day. He ate only a couple times and then stopped again. We waited a day or so to see if he would continue but when he didn't, we began force feeding him. We force fed him for 4 days. we started with the syringe and when that didn't work, I used my fingers. It hurt to see him wrapped in the towel, meowing as we shoved food down his throat. After the 4 days, we stopped. We decided that we had given him all his meds, we had been force feeding him but he just didn't want to eat on his own. We decided that we weren't going to put him through the process of a feeding tube. It wasn't an easy decision. He was barely drinking water and wasn't eating at all. What if he wanted to let go and we were stopping him?

A few days later, D and I made The Decision. It was time to let him go. He was slowly deteriorating and while it didn't look like he was in pain, how would we know? I couldn't bear the thought of him hurting or wasting away from starvation. I'm not that selfish. Not with him. I loved him too much to see him suffer in any way. We were with him when they did the injection. I couldn't let him be alone.

We had the best cat in the world for 11 years. He was my buddy. He followed me around the house, sat in my lap, curled up next to me and was my constant companion. He loved me like no one else ever will. I miss him more than I could have ever imagined. And God does it hurt. I still see him around the house. I still wait to see him come down the stairs and hop onto the couch with me. I look for his food dishes when I get my coffee. I still feel him curled up behind my knees when I lay down to sleep. I slept on the couch for a week.

For a while, whenever I thought of him, all I could see what his lifeless face on the vet blanket. I couldn't help it and it was killing me. Did I do the right thing? I don't know. Some days I don't think so. Some days, I don't think I tried hard enough. For 11 years, he has been my world. He was absolutely spoiled and we couldn't have asked for a better pet. Our daughter was born 2 months ago and naturally took all my attention. I felt bad because I wanted to make sure he wasn't ignored, but the baby was now my priority. When he became sick, we tried everything we could. We called family, more than once, to watch our daughter in the middle of the night while we went to the Vet ER. I feel like he didn't eat because he was depressed about being pushed aside for the baby. I feel like I should have paid more attention to him. I felt that I could have done more and maybe he wouldn't have gotten so bad or at least gotten better. Even if I had, the outcome may very well have been the same. I'll  never know.

I'm having a hard time dealing with the grief and the guilt and I'm sure being post-partum isn't helping but I know it takes time. So I'll wait for the day it doesn't hurt so bad. It's going to be a while.

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